Place item was collected
Point of Discovery/Informant Bio
Ashley Nielson is a 21-year old Mechanical Engineering student at Utah State University. She’s the middle child of seven in a very active family. She enjoys anything outdoors, including snow skiing, water skiing, hiking, and swimming. She’s worked as a lifeguard and swim instructor teaching little kids how to swim. Her ultimate goal in life is to build prosthetic eyes and help the blind to see.
Ashley is a fellow Ambassador for the College of Engineering. During our office hours we were competing to see who had the busiest schedule as we reached the last week of school. During our banter back and forth, I brought up my folklore collection project and needing one more person before finishing up. With an excited look, she rolled across the office in her chair to where I was working on my computer. In a flurry of words, she started going off on this recipe. I fought to slow her down, so I could pull out my iPad and start recording the conversation.
I actually don’t know much about the history. I just looked up that Special K only came out in the 1950’s so it cant be super old, but I know that my mom got it form her mom, who got it from her mom, who must have gotten it form her mom. So my great grandma. If I think right, it was just something that a neighbor had, it might have come off the box of Special K…I don’t think it did cause it’s SUPER unhealthy. Special K would NOT advertise that. My first memory of Special K was sitting on the trampoline and passing a large bowl if it around with friends and neighbors. I was a treat I felt like I always had at fourth of July had like, I just remember eating it as a kid and remembering like, this is so good. And not really knowing what it was, but then as we got older we would go and give it neighbors and my mom would ask me to make it and like, it got to the point that I would ask for the recipe and she would say, “You shouldn’t need the recipe by now. You should know it, so go make it.” I make it probably like once a month. We would take it to parties. But honestly, every party I’ve ever been to, I don’t see anyone else make it. My extended family has the recipe, but usually only our family makes it and brings it to parties. They always say “Oh thank goodness you brought that!” I have made it myself before, but it’s a hard recipe because it needs a huge pot. And only my family has that size of pot. We did have to make slight changes to the recipe when Special K changed their box sizes. We didn’t use measurements, we used “one box of special k.” So that kinda stinked when we had to adjust to recipe to allow for one box. Aside from that, the recipe’s been around my family for a while in all its one-pound butter glory. It’s nice when I get to make it. When I do, I’m usually with family.
Special K Cookies
1 Pound (2 cups) salted butter or margarine
½ Cup brown sugar (packed)
1 Cup sugar
40 Marshmallows (regular sized)
1 18 oz Special K cereal
1tsp. Vanilla (optional)
Combine butter, brown sugar, and sugar in large pan and bring to boil. Add marshmallows, stir until all melted. Remove from heat and add vanilla and box of special K cereal. Add nuts if desired. Drop by spoonful into little mound on a greased cookie sheet or wax paper. Let cool.
It took 10 times of listening to the audio to make out a clear transcription. Ashley would speak quickly and change topics spastically. When she started a new conversation, her hands would flare up in a light shrug as if to wind up her mouth for another burst of words. Her energy throughout our conversation paralleled that of her chair zooming at Mach speeds to where I was. In closing the interview, I asked what the actual recipe is. I watch her as she pantomimes each step of the baking process. My eyes shift to the computer on the right of her and I see the recipe pulled up on the screen. It seemed as though she keeps the recipes on her google drive to use whenever and wherever she is.
Lynne S. McNeill
Semester and year
G1: Groups/Social Customs
Wright, Glen, "Special K Cookies" (2018). USU Student Folklore Fieldwork. Paper 392.